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Rancher Ammon Bundy withdraws request for release

Ammon Bundy, the rancher who led an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, abruptly reversed course Tuesday and withdrew a request to be released from custody as he awaits trial on a felony conspiracy charge, court papers showed.

Bundy had initially been scheduled Tuesday to ask a federal judge in Oregon to release him on electronic GPS surveillance, his attorney Mike Arnold said.

But now Bundy will resubmit that request at a later time, his attorneys said in court papers. He will stay incarcerated “to gather further evidence of his statements and actions encouraging a peaceful protest and civil disobedience,” court documents said.

Bundy eventually plans to challenge U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman’s order to keep him in custody pending the trial, according to court documents.

Bundy’s attorneys have indicated they ultimately plan to argue in U.S. District Court that their client should be permitted to stay at his home in Idaho and only return to Oregon for court appearances. The federal court system’s pretrial services earlier recommended Bundy’s conditional release, according to court papers filed by Bundy’s attorneys.

But federal prosecutors have argued that “Mr. Bundy was a risk to the safety of any other person or the community and that there was a serious risk that the defendant will flee,” court papers said.

The weeks-long armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters near Burns, Oregon, took a violent turn last week when authorities arrested Bundy and shot and killed another key figure, LaVoy Finicum, on a desolate stretch of rural highway. Bundy’s brother, Ryan, also was wounded.

The occupiers said Finicum had his hands in the air when he was shot. A law enforcement official told CNN that officers opened fire when Finicum reached toward his waistband, where he had a gun.

Eleven people, including Ammon Bundy, were arrested last week — 10 in Oregon and one in Arizona.

All the defendants face a federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

As of Tuesday morning, four members of the protest group remained inside the refuge.

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